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Last edited by beautiful letters; 01-16-2013 at 05:04 AM.
I've attempted to make up a lot of them, but I run into the same problem. I guess it's simply the fact that humans are predisposed to base their imaginations off of things that are real. I would suggest perhaps researching some more exotic and unknown species and traits from them, as well as creatures of folklore, and see if you can get anything from mixing and matching and whatnot.
Optimism was never my forte.
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The awesome thing about mythology is that many cultures who had nothing to do with each other in the distant past still managed to come up with similar mythological creatures. Like many different cultures have some version of a vampire or werewolf or shapeshifter or ghost. The details are different but the basic gist is the same. I feel like you can totally make up your own creature and if it's similar to ones that are already made up, that's okay. You have to make sure you're actually creating a new creature with traits similar to established ones, not just putting a new spin on an old myth (like sparkling vampires). There's nothing wrong with putting a new spin on established creatures, you should just know which it is you're doing.
I always wanted to write something no one else has written, but i see the publishing draw backs..
Jungian archetypes will always come to the fore in these cases, all part of the collective unconscious (also a reason why stories with cliches in are often more satisfying - we want to see the hero succeed...).
You'll likely riff off an established myth but you can twist things and make them different in so many different ways - merging ideas (conflating vampires with succubi or sirens for example), changing them (making vampires protoplasmic), reversing them (making the vampire the hero instead of the villain) and other things can take something established and make it new and interesting.
So, maybe start with the creature you think is most like what you need and consider how to repsray it and change the serial numbers enough to make it yours.
Thank you for your words of wisdom!
It's very, very difficult to come up with something that shares no features with any established mythology, just by virtue of the fact that we humans have been doing this for tens of thousands of years. But it's certainly possibly to create something that isn't just an elf or a werewolf with the serial numbers scraped off.
Have you ever made up your own mystical creature?
I gave it a shot with a creature called a Paddymous Giant in Planet Janitor. It's actually an alien life form.
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I have scaled/armoured deer somewhere of which I'm rather fond, even if that too is hardly original. But most of the time I actually prefer working with existing mythological creatures and subverting them somewhat to my need, instead of actually trying to come up with something entirely orginal. Mostly because there are so many totally awesome (some often stil very obcure) mythological creatures already around. Heck, sometimes there are more than enough natural creatures that are so completely bonkers you couldn't make them up if you tried!
And as a reader I know I can enjoy a clever spin on an existing creature just as much as something entirely new.
I have made up my own mythology. I made creatures based on a common fantasy concept, but the creatures are nothing like the concept...if you know what I mean? They aren't a spin, or twist. It was more like, this common supernatural concept sucks...what would I create instead?
I find it much easier to twist my favorite mythologies into creatures that aren't quite the stereotypical myth, but still something familiar and interesting. This is really easy and fun to do. You simply need to research the supernatural creature and find everything you possibly can about them...then change it.
Did you now there was a pre-Dracula vampire that needed the moon to survive? You can do something interesting with that. Research leads to endless possibilities.
I created my own species for my WIP, which are similar to lycanthropes in that they have animal features, but that's pretty much where it ends. I find actually creating creatures or twisting existing creatures isn't too hard for me, it was the developing the history to back it up that was difficult.
I've often thought about the fact that we're living at the bottom of a sea of air. What if a civilisation lived on the surface of that sea, not carbon based or oxygen breathing. We have a limited sense array and might not be able to detect their presence or understand their civilisation, they might not be able to detect or understand ours, but they could be disturbed by our increasing activity in their area.
Haven't named them yet.
I think that there's a lot more possibilities than we sometimes realize. Just takes some willingness to really think outside the box and make originality a priority. The more original the idea you start from is, the easier time you'll have distinguishing your story, because you're not fighting against every other werewolf/demon/vampire/etc. out there.
My addled, sleepless brain produced, when I saw this thread:
Giant flying manta ray-like creatures that rearrange the stars at night; if one is caught, it will carry it's rider up into the sky to speak to the gods.
That idea was so delightfully random that I couldn't help sharing it. I shall tuck that idea away for later.
Working on something with the much more traditional demon right now, though. Ah well.
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From, The Tales of Netherron,
Book 1, A Game of Pawns
Book 2, Pawn takes Queen,
Book 3, Pawn's Gambit,
In the pipeline,
Children of Netherron, follow up trilogy
Guardians of Netherron, prequel trilogy
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I tend to completely make creatures from scratch actually. Like the one eyed toad lizard fish, that's a delicacy in world often eaten with sour kraut by a four armed green skinned Cyclops.
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No. Not completely from scratch. But I do enjoy taking a familiar creature and making it my own. So that is recognizable, but not cliched and boring. Or at least, I try.
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a giant snake, that can fly and is rainbow coloured
it talks too...telepathically
also a talking alicorn, before my little pony (gen 4) was a thing
Whenever I make up my own magical creature, it's normally because my world building gets away from me.
Like, I combined an idea with vampires and demons and all that... (semi generic?) stuff with another one where the witches were the only magical creatures around, and there were no demons or werewolves or vampires or any other sort of supernatural creatures minus witches.
So if I wanted to keep the vampires, I had to change them so that the witches made them, which changed them from vampires to magically-made superhumans.
IDK if that made sense. But normally, I work with an established idea and morph it around to fit my universe. Not sure whether that counts as making your own or doing a new take on something else.
Yes I have, as a matter of fact - a woman who finds me irresistible.
Had to scrap the idea though. Wasn't credible.